The two group projects this semester, mental illness among the homeless, and cyber bullying, were on my mind as I sat down to (finally) start my blog posts. I combined them in a Google search: harassment homeless. Among a number of complaint posts about people who had been harassed by a homeless person, this post stood out. From Stop Street Harassment, the post is about homeless people, especially women, and the ways they’re often harassed by others.
“If we are discussing “street harassment” as unwanted comments, gestures, and actions forced on a stranger, particularly with an actual or perceived gender-bias, homeless women might take the cake.”
Sara Conklin, the author of this particular post, advocates for homeless women in the Washington DC area. The site itself, Stop Street Harassment, has a wider reach, discussing all gender-based harassment that happens in public places.
There is a form where people can submit and share their stories. A blog, authored by “correspondent” writers like Sara, has posts about community awareness meetings, policy efforts, and activism around the world. They also provide a list of resources, including hotline numbers, advice on dealing with harassers, books and articles, and many others.
Unless I miss my guess, every woman (and possibly some men) in our class have been harassed in public at one time or another. I certainly have been, starting from a very young age. Given the recent “normalization” of public hostility and harassment brought about by the presidential race, this issue isn’t likely to go away soon. I’m afraid it may get much worse before it gets better. I’m glad to know the Stop Street Harassment site is out there with help and advice for all victims of harassment, especially those for whom the street is their only home.